The book was better

Photo by Nithya Jameshenry Student Publications

Book lovers in any place, age group or linguistic background generally function under the same principle and mantra: “the book was better than the movie!” This insistence on the quality of a book being superior to its movie counterpart is both undeniable and unchangeable for readers.

Movie franchises such as the “Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” were met with high praise but could never recover from certain criticisms. 

An example is the casting of the “Hunger Games.” While the novels featured Katniss Everdeen as a young adolescent, in the movies she is played by an adult. In this way, the movie fails to impact the viewer with the intensity of the books; Suzanne Collins was writing about children killing each other!

Books are far more effective in allowing the reader to piece together a picture of the settings and characters through the imagery of the language. Furthermore, words allow authors to express the internal dialogue and thought processes of characters that cannot be depicted in a big-picture format. 

Novels also have the ability to pack many more events and plot points into three hundred and fifty pages as compared to a one hundred and twenty-minute long movie. However, most of the reading community claims that as long as you read a book prior to watching its movie remake, then the sanctity of the novel is preserved. 

This is not the case. Movies have one thing that books do not: visuals. Movies create and depict the tumbling plains, the dilapidated castles and the underwater kingdoms. 

Most importantly, movies give faces to the characters penned by writers. Harry Potter has Daniel Radcliffe’s face; Jo March of “Little Women” has Saoirse Ronan’s face. When reading a book, readers concoct every character in their mind. 

They pull from their imagination and paint pictures of the plot using the words on the page. However, this image is precarious. It is very abstract and easy to knock down and replace.

Even if an individual views a movie after completing the book, those delicate images are immediately steamrolled with new images cropping up in their place. 

Those vague and faceless but imaginative characters of the mind are replaced by Liam Hemsworth or Timothée Chalamet. The beautiful and subtle details of the lavish ballroom are replaced by Hollywood Studio C.

Some films like Studio Ghibli’s “Howl’s Moving Castle” veer far from their book of origin. The movie’s plot is fairly dissimilar to Diana Wynne Jones’ writing. 

In cases like this, the book images are preserved. While there are overlaps, the two still feel like separate pieces of media.

There is no denying that some of the most critically acclaimed films originated from books. 

In fact, some of these books are irrelevant compared to their movie adaptations. 

Films such as “The Godfather,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Forrest Gump” are movies whose praise made them surpass their novels in fame and timelessness. 

The value of these films cannot be understated or belittled, and watching these before reading the books is the most common practice. 

In most cases, however, not only is the book better than the movie, but the movie has the ability to destroy the beautifully written storyboard that the writer has made. 

As reading becomes disfavored as the preferred form of media, it is all the more important to understand the paramountcy of preserving certain books. 

Some movie adaptations such as “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “The Giver” end up being garbage and box office flops.

Novels are invaluable resources that serve as sources of comfort and enjoyment for many worldwide. A mediocre Hollywood adaptation is never worth ruining the thrill of a wonderful novel.